Valletta

Valletta is in Malta.

Understand

Valletta is the capital of the island nation of Malta. A harbour city, Valletta preserves much of its 16th century architectural heritage built under the Hospitallers. Valletta was one of the earliest sites inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Referred to colloquially as Il-Belt ("The City"), it takes its name from its founder, Grandmaster Jean Parisot de la Valette.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 15.2 15.5 16.7 19.1 23.3 27.5 30.7 30.7 28.0 24.2 20.1 16.7
Nightly lows (°C) 9.2 9.3 10.1 11.9 14.9 18.4 21.0 21.8 20.1 17.1 13.9 11.0
Precipitation (mm) 89 61 41 23 7 3 0 7 40 90 80 112

Source:w:Valletta#Climate

The southernmost national capital in Europe, and sitting next to the Mediterranean, Valletta is one of the few places in Europe that has mild and warm weather around the year. Nighttime lows are around +10°C in the winter, however at that time of the year it's comparatively rainy. During the summer, expect sunny and hot weather.

Get in

By car

Most bus routes and many arterial roads converge on Valletta. However, once inside the city there are many one-way streets and some pedestrian zones. Parking near one's destination can be difficult. There is a large multi-storey car park in Floriana, about half a kilometre from the City Gate entrance to Valletta.

By bus

In front of the main gate of Valletta is the main bus station for the entire island, rather than buslines covering the island in a grid, most of them spread out from here and return to here.

By boat

Instead of paying a lot of money for a harbour cruise there is a small ferry leaving from Sliema which will take you across beautiful Marsamxett harbour and past Manoel Island for €1.50.

Another little known way is to visit Vittoriosa by bus and then have the Maltese version of the gondola, the so called Dghajsa bring you back in style across the spectacular Grand Harbour to Valletta, and drop you off just by Victoria gate for €3.50.

Get around

The Valletta peninsula is only a couple of kilometres in length and so the ideal way is to do everything on foot also allowing one to make use of the atmospheric stairs throughout this steep city. However, the city is built on a ridge, and is steep in parts (requiring walking up and down stairs in some places), which can be tiring. The alternative would be doing it by car which is not ideal for visitors due to lack of parking space, direction signs and the fact that the streets are very narrow, often one way and confusing if unfamiliar. Most of the main tourist attractions are along the main street (Triq ir-Republika) which does not involve steep hills.

To get further historical information about the numerous places of interest through Valletta it can be useful to hire an audio guide. It is available in different languages (Maltese, English, Italian, French, Dutch, German and Spanish) from the Archeology Museum in Republic Street. You can choose independently from the 24 stops and it is not necessary to follow the given order. Stops can easily be skipped or visited in another sequence when tired or full of the new information.

Another possibility is to rent one of the horsecarts (Karozzin), but be sure to haggle over the price.

Bus routes 98 (clockwise) and 198 (counterclockwise) run around Valletta. They depart from Valletta Terminus at the following times:

Route 98: 6:30AM-7AM - every 15 minutes - 8AM-8:20AM - 8:30AM - 8:50AM - 9:40AM - every 30 minutes - 5:40PM

Route 198: M-Sa 9:30AM / Su 8:30AM - every 30 minutes - 6PM

See

Valletta

In debatable order of importance:

Do

You can take a spectacular walk along the sea around the outside of the city walls. If you go to the mooring place where the ferry for Sliema leaves, there is the possibility to walk over the rocks towards the tip of the peninsula and then around it coming back up into the city just next to the Malta Experience. This walk takes about 30 minutes and is done by virtually no-one.

At night in St George's Square, there is a lovely water fountain, with coloured spouts of water which pop up and down - a fantastic play opportunity for children. They WILL get wet, so don't let them go near if they are wearing their best clothing. Great fun for kids.

Learn

Several of the Maltese English language institutes are in Valletta.

Buy

The main street of Valletta is Republic street, a busy pedestrian zone leading down the middle of the Peninsula from the main gate down to Republic square, this is where many of the better shops are located, although it cannot quite compete with Sliema for clothing.

The best souvenir shop (the least worthless trinkets etc.) can be found at the Malta experience, but there are many other reasonable souvenir shops in Valletta. At the beginning of the Republic street there are several reasonable souvenir shops but prices are far cheaper if you walk 20 meters down South street (turn left if you have the bus station behind you) which crosses Republic street very soon after you have entered through the city gates.

The best bookshop of Malta is definitely the one formerly known as Sapienzas (know Agenda Bookshop as of 2008) on Republic street but can be a bit more expensive.

There is a daily market selling cheap clothing in the parallel street to Republic street called Triq il-Merkanti, or Merchants street.

Eat

Valletta has a collection of decent restaurants, due to most of the tourists residing either in Sliema or on the north coast of the island there are fewer of the trashy variety, although it does have the ubiquitous fast-food places (Burger King, McDonald's, Pizza Hut). The Valletta waterfront is absolutely amazing especially at night, it contains different types of restaurants, from Chinese to the Hard Rock cafe, there is also a book shop and jewelry shop in the same waterfront.

Budget

If you keep your eyes open you may run into one of the charming traditional bakeries tucked away here and there where the tourist economy hasn't forced prices up yet and one can get lovely steaming fresh bread for mere cents.

Mid-range

Splurge

Drink

Sleep

Budget

Now 20 Euro per night per person (Feb 2012). But still the best value in Valletta. Annie, the owner is a sweet little lady who will treat you like you are staying at your grannies.

Mid-range to High

Boutique & Self-Catering

Stay safe

Apart from some restaurants and bars open in the evening Valletta still has next to nothing happening in terms of nightlife, so apart from Republic street the streets are quite empty late at night. Most of the usual petty crime that travelers are confronted with happens in Sliema and St Julians, but it's something to keep in mind.

Connect

Opposite to the Trabuxu wine bar at the beginning of 'Strait Street' there is Ziffa Internet Center which offers a wide selection of services including internet browsing and low cost international calls.

Cope

Embassies

Go next

Almost all of Malta's bus routes start from the large roundabout just outside the main gate, making everywhere in the country accessible.

There is also the ferry which goes to Sliema for €0.93.

Valletta is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site but two more can be found in the suburb of Tarxien, in the form of the Megalithic Temples and the Hypogeum

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 15, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.